Demand for office space in York growing

Clifton Park, York: lettings here indicate increased confidence in the local economy
An increasing demand for small office units in York underlines a growing confidence in the economy from small and medium-sized businesses, according to a leading York property consultant.

Andrew McBeath, the managing director of York-based McBeath Property Consultancy, believes that the increase in inquiries he has received from companies wanting to occupy office space of up to 2,000 sq ft indicated renewed faith in North Yorkshire’s economy.

He said: “These have been challenging times for the commercial property market across North Yorkshire and beyond and we are certainly not out of the woods yet. But I have been heartened by the number of inquiries I have so received so far this year, some of which have been translated into deals.

“It is important that owners and developers of empty commercial space in the county understand this demand. Some have already acted swiftly, creating office floor-plates of 2,000 sq ft or less to accommodate small companies wanting to move into new offices.

“One excellent example of this is Clifton Park, York’s principal business park, where the Human Support Group, has taken 1,238 sq ft of high-quality, modern office space on the ground floor of Block A at Clifton Park on a five-year lease.

“Clifton Park is a great success story. We are providing high-specification modern office accommodation in a green, attractive and mature woodland landscape and we can offer flexible space for small to medium-sized businesses upwards. We believe that we have a better quality product than any of the other business parks in the out of town York market,” he explained.

He added: “The owners of Clifton Park, Schroeder Real Estate Investment Trust, have made a decision to target inquiries from 1,200 sq ft upwards in the light of the demand for smaller offices. But, having said that, there is the capacity on site to cater for a requirement for 18,000 sq ft, and there are very few business parks in North Yorkshire that could satisfy that.”

Mr McBeath’s comments come in the wake of a report by the Centre For Cities, which praised York for reacting well to increased demand for office space, especially compared to other cities, which had seen lower than average growth in office space.

The report revealed that York grew its office space by 3.4 per cent annually between 2000 and 2008 and between 1998 and 2008, the number of people employed in private sector office-based jobs grew by 43 per cent and private sector office-based businesses grew by 74 per cent.

The report recommended that City of York Council discuss growth requirements with existing businesses to ensure they had space to grow into and said that the council needed to promote the city to national property agents.

The on-going success of Clifton Park has been underlined by the national Human Support Group, which trades as Housing Support and Home Care Support, opening an office on the ground floor of Block A.

The company, which provides care for the elderly across many parts of the country through eight offices, has taken 1,238 sq ft of high-quality, modern office space on a five-year lease. The rent is in the region of £11 per sq ft.

Chris Pearson, of joint marketing agents Gavin Black, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the Human Support Group to Clifton Park.  Our new tenant is a national operator and we were very pleased to have secured this letting against competition elsewhere in the York out of town area in a challenging market.

“Clifton Park is a great success story. We are providing high-specification modern office accommodation in a green, attractive and mature woodland landscape and we can offer flexible space from 2,000 sq ft upwards to 9,000 sq ft. We believe that we have a better quality product than any of the other business parks in the out of town York market.”

Andrew McBeath added: “The fact that NFU Mutual has moved their headquarters to Zenith House next door is a great testament of the quality of the location, which is close to the York Outer Ring Road, with easy access to the A1 (M) and the A59, but only two miles from York city centre.

“The park also offers excellent parking facilities.”

Rachel Caulfield, head of human resources at the Human Support Group, explained: “We recently won the contract to run City of York Council’s re-ablement and domiciliary care service and as we were new to the area, it was important we sourced an office central to the city with great transport links. 

“Clifton Park is a modern, leafy site which is easily accessible by the outer ring road and offers superb facilities.  We were impressed with the attention provided by the facilities manager when we moved in, who paid a personal visit to ensure all was in order and have been more than satisfied with both the office and the service so far,” she added.

Other high-profile occupiers of Clifton Park include Balfour Beatty, Signalling Solutions, and Cellhire. There is also a Premier Inn and the Dormouse public house at the entrance of the park, providing leisure recreational facilities for occupiers and visitors alike.

The Human Support Group was represented by Manchester-based OBI Property Consultants.